[b-hebrew] Samaritan script/proto-hebrew

Chris Weimer cweb255 at hotmail.com
Sun Mar 20 16:18:31 EST 2005

> Yitzhak, I don't want to open up another long discussion on this issue.
> My rather quick reply to Chris was based more in the terms which I 
> he would understand i.e. taking the text of the book of Kings fairly
> literally. And I realise that this is not an entirely safe thing to do.
> Even in 2 Kings itself e.g. 23:15-20 there is evidence that the Samaria
> district was under the control of Jerusalem after the end of the
> northern kingdom.
Hold on a minute, how do you get that I take Kings historically? Let me 
clarify myself a bit, I was referring to the myriad Asherah and Baal 
inscriptions that the Yisrael was a polytheistic country, while the southern 
Yahwists didn't really exert their control until after the exile, and then 
not even right away (the number of deportees largely exaggerated). What are 
the latest inscriptions of other deities in the North.

> I do not intend to enter a historical discussion with you, unless you 
> to be prepared to back up your objections and claims where they differ
> from the currently established scholarly consensus or a major scholarly
> position.

> Putting aside the minor point of when the "split" or 
"schism" occured
> between Samaritans and Jews, the main point was to clear up the
> confusion where Chris was dependent essentially on attempting to fit
> a literal reading of the Bible with the scripts.  As you yourself 
> out, this is a very one sided view of events, and the Samaritans
> themselves see themselves as descended from the real Israelites even
> as far back as Eli, and in any case, it is a separate issue from the
> issue of the Samaritan script.  Therefore, the first point in clearing
> up the confusion was to dis-associate the historical issue from the
> script issue.  The second one was to clarify the terminology since
> apparently he was reading "Assyrian" script as a name for 
> script, and being confused on that point as well.
Aramaic script, did the block characters not originate farther east than 
Israel? Were they not influenced by Assyrian Aramaic? Sorry to appear 
ignorant here, but I was under that assumption.

> What I called Paleo-Hebrew is what experts call Paleo-Hebrew,
> https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/ane/2003-July/009788.html
> The Modern Hebrew script is not the Jewish script of the DSS.  It is a
> later development and modern Hebrew readers cannot make out all
> the letters of the Jewish script without help.  As for what you think
> about Phoenician and Old Hebrew, I outlined the main description as
> given by Naveh in the book I mentioned: "This geographic 
> [of three varieties of Phoenician - Phoenician, Punic, and Neo-Punic]
> does well for sorting out the inscriptions but it does not help 
> between the scripts.  The Phoenician, Punic, and Neo-Punic were
> written in the same script, without regional or local 
differences."  He
> outlines the various areas in which Phoenician inscriptions were found.
> Furthermore, he notes that an independent Hebrew script began
> developing as early as the 9th century BCE, while an independent
> Aramaic script did not begin until the mid-8th.  If any of what you
> think above is based on reputable sources, I would appreciate it if you
> referenced them so I may look them up and get a more balanced view.
Au contraire on one point, the Dead Sea Scrolls do contain the block script, 
and in fact the "Hebrew Script" was considered there to be more archaic, 
often using it to represent YHWH and only found in a few fragments, such as 
PaleoJob. By far Aramaic script was <i>the</i> script used.

&gt; This is perhaps a latest possible date for the split, but it is not an
&gt; earliest one. There is no particular reason why the already separated
&gt; Judeans and Samaritans could not have used the palaeo-Hebrew script in
&gt; parallel from say the 5th to the 1st century BCE, at least for 
&gt; puposes to preserve the already centuries-old tradition. In fact it
&gt; seems that the Judeans came to prefer the Aramaic-based Hebrew script 
&gt; least towards the end of this period, perhaps simply because it was
&gt; different from the Samaritans' preferred script.
Which is why I put it at the 3rd century, a reasonable time placement.

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